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Session 6

Music, magic and monsters! We learn how to use the phrase strange bedfellows from The Tempest - and lots of other useful expressions for talking about relationships.

 

Session 6 score

0 / 14

  • 0 / 5
    Activity 1
  • 0 / 4
    Activity 2
  • 0 / 5
    Activity 3

Activity 2

To bed, or not to bed: that is the question.

To do

Miley Cyrus and Michael Bublé certainly would make strange bedfellows! Listen to this extract from the animation to help you remember what the narrator said, then do this quick quiz to check you understood the meaning of strange bedfellows.

Listen to the audio and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Narrator
These days, the phrase strange bedfellows describes two people or groups that are connected in a particular activity, even though they are very different and are not usually seen together. It's often used for political alliances. For example, a July 2015 report from US broadcaster Fox News described Israel and Hamas as strange bedfellows when they both wanted to stop the growth of so-called Islamic State in Gaza. The headline was:

Clip 1
Israel, Hamas strange bedfellows when it comes to reining in ISIS in Gaza.

Narrator
Strange bedfellows is useful for all sorts of unlikely partnerships.

Clip 2
You think Miley Cyrus and Michael Bublé should write a song together? Well, they'd be strange bedfellows… but it might just work.

Now have a go at this quiz. Look at the transcript if you need extra help.

To bed, or not to bed: that is the question.

4 Questions

Check you've understood this phrase...

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

How did you do?

3-4 correct - well done - you have understood strange bedfellows and are ready to learn some new phrases!
0-2 correct - that's weird... what happened?! Have a look at the vocabulary box and try again.

Language note

  • Fellow is more commonly used today as an adjective. It describes a person/people who belong to the same group or who share a situation. For example:
    fellow students/a fellow traveller

  • The literal meaning of bedfellows is: two people who share a bed

Next

We have another common expression to talk about two people who are completely different from each other. Do you know what it is?

Here's a clue: they are like c______ and c______. 

Go to the next activity to find out the answer and learn more useful phrases to describe relationships.

Session Vocabulary

  • For more great Shakespeare content, visit our partnerThe OU

    For teachers:

    Lesson plan and worksheets for Strange bedfellows

    Eight vocabulary activities for the classroom

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    Strange bedfellows

    Meaning
    These days, the phrase strange bedfellows describes two people or groups that are connected in a particular activity, even though they are very different and are not usually seen together.

    Example sentence
    You think Miley Cyrus and Michael Bublé should write a song together? Well, they'd be strange bedfellows… but it might just work.

    Note
    strange bedfellows is often used for political alliances.

    Example sentence
    Israel, Hamas strange bedfellows when it comes to reining in ISIS in Gaza.

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    Extra vocabulary

    like chalk and cheese
    an expression to describe two people who are very different from each other

    an odd couple
    two people who are in a relationship, but seem very different and not well-suited

    a match made in heaven
    a perfect combination of people or things

    made for each other
    a perfect match

    two of a kind
    two people with very similar characters

    tempest
    a violent storm

    gaberdine
    a type of large raincoat

    fellow(s) 
    a person/people who belong to the same group or who share a situation

    bedfellows
    people who share a bed or who are closely involved with each other in a particular situation

    Find out more

    About Shakespeare Speaks

    Shakespeare Speaks is a co-production between:

    BBC Learning English

    The Open University

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